97-pt. Greatness from the Father of Priorat: 2015 Clos Mogador

Posted on: 05/4/18 1:09 PM

clos mogador

The true origins of Clos Mogador can be traced back to Roman times. This vast amphitheater of crumbling slate covers less than 2,000 hectares, and is surrounded by mountains up to 1.200 metres high with the vineyard’s lower extremes lapped by the Siurana River. This river runs below a small hamlet of the same name that has a rich history, inspiring in the past some of the most daring Moorish legends.

It was this legendary spot, with its clear beauty and breathtaking drama, that inspired Rene Barbier to reclaim this ancient land for wine growing. It was a difficult and gutsy move. Because despite the beauty and drama of this landscape, it is brutal to work. Steep, stony, hot, extreme. It was something of a minor miracle Priorat was ever reborn, because it was clear why it had been abandoned.

Thankfully for us Barbier, fired by dreams of Priorat’s potential, was determined enough to drag this once legendary appellation into the modern era. The intense, rich and mineral wines produced here are distinct and as dramatic as the landscape. And no one makes it better than Rene Barbier and Clos Mogador.

In 2015, this iconic wine is EPIC. Jancis Robinson weighed in early on the 2015 vintage in Priorat: “These days everyone wants to put a positive spin on each year’s vintage, wanting, rightly or wrongly, to stand out in a crowded digital landscape. But … people may be justified in wanting to go on at length about just how great 2015 has been.”

Then the Importer – Eric Solomon – started gushing: “Let’s talk about the 2015 vintage which was a fantastic year in Priorat. All the prevailing conditions were ideal for producing a great Clos Mogador. The visual aspect of the wine is a sumptuous, intense ruby red colour. On the nose it is both complex and pleasing with aromas of ripe red and black fruits which marry perfectly with the notes of liquorice and chocolate. On the elegant, beautifully dense palate, we can detect hints of spiciness overlaid with smoky, peppery woodiness. The tannins are persistent and tightly knit with a finesse which allows an astonishingly prolonged aftertaste. This is a thoroughbred of a wine encompassing elegant, enduring qualities. Although quite magnificent now, if you can hide it away somewhere for a few years, you will not be disappointed!”

Since then, it’s been a parade of 95+ pt. wines from throughout the region. But Clos Mogador is special. We don’t have much, but snap up what you can!

clos mogador

2015 Clos Mogador Priorat

“This time there were two vintages of the top-of-the-range red to taste, as the 2014 is almost finished and the 2015 Clos Mogador will be released soon. In this warmer vintage, there is a little more Cariñena in the blend, with the final breakdown something like 45% Garnacha, 29% Cariñena, 16% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. This had the same vinification and aging as the 2014: fermentation with indigenous yeasts and a 35- to 45-day maceration, followed by an élevage in 300-liter barrels and 2,000-liter foudres that lasted 18 months. 2015 is a rounder and easier year than 2014, and it feels a little riper, supple but with good freshness. It’s clean and precise with nicely integrated oak. This was an easy vintage for the winery, and the wines are easy to understand and more approachable early on. 31,000 bottles produced. It was bottled in July 2017.” 97 pts. The Wine Advocate

“Many of the leading ‘historical’ wines of Priorat prove that a mixture of local and international varieties can produce outstanding results, and this magnificent 2015 wine is no exception. It contains 20% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah here, blended with 40% Garnatxa and 20% Carinyena. It’s deep black and red in colour, with aromatic complexity from a soft, suffusing, earthy warmth and almost meaty plum fruits. On the palate the wine is concentrated, deep and forthright. The clarity and brilliance of the fruit flavours are typical of Priorat, ballasted in this case by dense tannins and vivacious, fruit-saturated acidity. It grows more savoury towards the finish: plum and stone modulate towards pine and Mediterranean scrub. A Priorat of total assurance, its alcohol invisible other than in the wine’s suffusing and necessary warmth.” – 97 pt. Decanter

Posted in Reserve List By Ian Halbert